The DMFT Index: Healthy primary teeth by country

For more than 80 years, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) has been keeping stats on healthy primary teeth around the world. The purpose of this effort is to determine which countries are succeeding in promoting oral care so others can follow their lead.

To do this, they came up with the DMFT Index, which stands for Decayed, Missing and Filled Teeth. The index score expresses the number of teeth out of 20 that fall into one of these three categories. The lower the score, the better a country is overall as it relates to healthy primary teeth.

Here are the results from the latest DMFT index:

10. France

DMFT Score: 1.2
You might think that chocolate croissants and crème brûlées would have a negative effect on oral health, but as it turns out that’s not the case at all.

9. United States

DMFT Score: 1.2
Grand slam breakfasts, apple pie and fast food hasn’t seemed to affect oral health in the US.

8. Mexico

DMFT Score: 1.1
They beat the US, which we’re sure makes them feel good.

7. Canada

DMFT Score: 1.0
Way to go, Canada! This means that only one tooth per child is at risk. Of course, we can all work together to get our collective score down and our ranking up. This starts with making sure to get our kids to the dentist twice a year.

6. Switzerland

DMFT Score: 0.9
Nothing neutral here. The Swiss take their health seriously and this is reflected in their high DMFT score.

5. Sweden

DMFT Score: 0.8
Sweden’s the first of three Scandinavian countries that made the top 10, which everybody expects given the quality of the region’s healthcare.

4. United Kingdom

DMFT Score: 0.8
This one shocks a lot people, given the British reputation for bad teeth.

3. Finland

DMFT Score: 0.7
Back to Scandinavia for #3 on the list and no surprise that it’s Finland. The Fins are very healthy people, and when winter hits in Helsinki, there’s not much else to do other than brush and floss.

2. Germany

DMFT Score: 0.5
Given the size of the population and the number of foreigners in Germany, this is a big win for them. Bigger still considering how decimated Germany was eight years ago when the DMFT scoring began.

1. Denmark – the number one country for healthy primary teeth

DMFT Score: 0.4
Congratulations to the Danes! Less than half a tooth per child is in need of critical care. This speaks to diet, commitment to oral health, a dedication to education and probably some very demanding parents.